For our entire married life, Amit and I have not let a holiday opportunity slip by unnoticed. We compare holiday calendars as soon as they appear and note all the three day weekends, four day weekends, and take-a-day-or-two-off-and-make-it-a-five-day (or sometimes a nine-day) weekends. We start to plan holidays six months before the date and our tickets are all booked on the 90th day before the date of travel – the earliest that you can book train tickets in India. Air tickets are booked so far in advance that they actually become a little cheaper a little while after we book them – strange are the ways of air ticket pricing mechanisms. Leave is sanctioned more than a month before the date. And our bags are packed – usually – about a couple of hours before departure. Unless we’re trekking – then we actually start packing a couple of days before, but still manage to leave out various vital equipment – and then find that we can actually get by without it.
After the kids came, our holidays have been less exotic and more mundane, but there have still been a few holidays. Trekking trips have largely been replaced by visits to meet family, and, of course, several good opportunities were used up on the multiple trips to Pondicherry. All the same, we have managed – jointly and severally – to work in trips to Lakshadweep, Binsar, Kasauli, Karwar, Cauvery Fishing Camp (twice), Ladakh, Goa, and Italy, quite apart from time spent meeting the family or travelling to Pondicherry. The last three named were done singly, without the kids, but even without those, that’s six holidays in three years, three of them more than a week long. Not bad going, don’t you think?
And now we have another nine day weekend coming up, just a month away – Christmas. You know where we’re going? You’ll never guess!
Nowhere. Precisely nowhere.
We haven’t had the time to book anything!
To put that in perspective, those of you who knew us five odd years ago know that we’d hear of a place on a Wednesday afternoon, book it on Thursday, and carry our luggage to work on Friday, prior to boarding an overnight bus. And we’d catch an overnight bus back on Sunday night and walk into office looking tired but thrilled (I think) on Monday morning!
I really don’t have the energy to do that anymore. But, passing up a nine-day holiday? I can’t, surely, let that happen!
Still, we seem to have. We haven’t booked anything and with only a month to go in the height of holiday season, I don’t think we’re going to get anything now. We’ve thrown around ideas of driving down to Mysore, and we might do that, but that really doesn’t count.
The worst thing is, I’m even actually looking forward to not going anywhere. I’m eyeing those nine days and thinking:
- I have 3 issues of the National Geographic magazine to catch up on
- I haven’t filed, sorted, and uploaded photos since May
- I haven’t read the book on Hadrian’s Villa that I bought in Italy; or any book, come to that, apart from Archaeology text books that are so successful in putting me to sleep
- I have to run down a couple of cheque payments that went astray and now require the whole stamp-paper-indemnity-letter runaround
- I haven’t been for a movie since I don’t know when; it would also be nice to get away for a meal or two with Amit without the kids
- I would love to have more time to play tennis
- I want to take the kids swimming – they have been asking for the longest time, but there’s never enough time!
- I could really use a sleep holiday – when I get to sleep right up till the time I wake up naturally
And so on.
Wanderlust has not entirely deserted either of us yet, though. We’re still dreaming of visiting the Serengeti next year, before Tanzania puts a road through it. We still have our eye on Egypt, which we’d almost booked in 2007 when the kids came along and happily destroyed that plan. And there’s still the Trans Siberian train that’s got berths reserved in our names (figuratively speaking). And of course we will have to take the kids trekking next year, or maybe the year after that. We’re not done with Ladakh or the Himalayas yet.
Yes, there are still lots of places to see and I’m sure there are lots of journeys we have yet to take, jointly or severally. But maybe, surprising (or shocking) as it may seem, maybe this time it’s time to take a stay-at-home holiday. After all, you’re never too old to try something new.
My only problem is: why is that blissful holiday still so far away?